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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>We have a contractor who has not started the work or bought any materials for the job. The insurance claim we got, was not enough to do the work we wanted to do. He is stating he can file a lien on our house. He wants half of what we got from our insurance claim. He says we have a signed contract, but I have yet to see that contract. Can he actually file a lien if he has done no work to our house?

We have a contractor who has not started the work or bought any materials for the job. The insurance claim we got, was not enough to do the work we wanted to do. He is stating he can file a lien on our house. He wants half of what we got from our insurance claim. He says we have a signed contract, but I have yet to see that contract. Can he actually file a lien if he has done no work to our house?

OhioRight to Lien

We have a contractor who has not started the work or bought any materials for the job. The insurance claim we got, was not enough to do the work we wanted to do. He is stating he can file a lien on our house. He wants half of what we got from our insurance claim. He says we have a signed contract, but I have yet to see that contract. Can he actually file a lien if he has done no work to our house?

1 reply

Oct 11, 2018
I'm sorry to hear that. Generally, mechanics liens may be filed for work performed and unpaid - an agreement to work without the actual performance of any work will typically not give rise to any lien rights. Ohio falls into this general rule. For some background, § 1311.02 of the Ohio mechanics lien statute provides the groundwork for lien rights in Ohio. It states, in relevant part: "Every person who performs work or labor upon or furnishes material in furtherance of any improvement ...or... performs any labor or work or furnishes any material to an original contractor or any subcontractor, in carrying forward, performing, or completing any improvement, has a lien to secure the payment therefor..." Translated, that section of the statute creates lien rights when work is performed - not when a contract is signed. In a situation where work hasn't even been agreed to - it seems pretty farfetched that a valid lien claim might be filed. However, it is possible to file a lien even when that lien may not be valid or unenforceable - county recorders typically have neither the bandwidth nor the time to investigate each and every lien claim. So, a mechanics lien might still be recorded while the claim itself is invalid. Thus, it's a good idea to actively prevent a lien filing, if possible. One way to do so might be to remind the potential claimant that, when a mechanics lien is filed fraudulently, serious penalties come into play. Further, threatening potential legal action against the claimant (should the lien claim be filed) could also be persuasive to fend off an improper claim. Finally, this article may be helpful in responding to the threat of lien: I Just Received a Notice of Intent to Lien – What Should I Do Now?
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